Tomorrow is the big day. The sliding doors moment when I get my pathology report from the last surgery. This is the most important appointment since I got my diagnosis in January. It’s the moment when I get the ‘ALL CLEAR’, albeit a qualified one. I’ll never be completely free of this disease. I’ll glimpse it occasionally out of the corner of my eye, like an inept detective following me for the rest of my days. But they will be able to say that as far as they can tell, it’s gone. Radiotherapy is just the clean up crew then, an insurance policy.
Another thing that will happen is I’ll get my prognosis. I’m in two minds about whether I want this as there’s all sorts of issues around determining it. The doctors basically put all your results into a computer programme that have names like Predict and Adjuvant! Online. I’m feeling like those names are a wee bit too glib for what they do. I mean if you’re gonna go glib, then name the thing Cake or Death.
Also the data they base these predictions on are at least five years old, if not more. Treatments have improved, care has gotten better. Plus the samples are dominated by older women because it’s much rarer for younger women to get breast cancer in the first place. And ultimately we’re all individuals. But perhaps I’m being picky about this in case it’s not what I want to hear. Boiling down my life chances into three rigid options (excellent, good, poor) strips me of all the complexity my existence is made up of.
Lastly and most excitingly, I will get a pathology report while I’m still ALIVE! Having been completely obsessed with Quincy as a young ‘un and as a result wanting to be a medical examiner for at least 3 minutes when I was eight years old, this is pretty cool stuff. I do feel I missed my calling as a social justice hero who cuts up dead bodies.
So my friends, by lunch time tomorrow I should know if I get to move on or if there’s more surgery on the horizon. If I do get to go forward, then for how long. All big, dramatic life thingies. In fact, it’s all a bit too serious for a sunny day. I’m off to the beach.. and I’ll take the cake please.